In my last post about travel, I wrote about how to travel abroad often. I got a great response from this blog post and it led to more questions about travel, in particular travelling alone. One beautiful reader wrote:
And another lovely reader wrote…
First of all I would like to say that for all those who currently travel solo, good for you! Good for you for being brave and not shying away from travelling alone because for a lot of people, this is quite daunting. I hear of so many people not travelling because they believe that there is no one in their immediate circle to travel with. Like the reader above I have much admiration for those people that have chosen not let a lack of track companions to stop them going abroad.
If the thought of travelling abroad alone really makes you nervous, maybe you start small, maybe you go on a short weekend break first. See how you feel afterwards.
Do your research
Do a little bit of research about where you are going, where you will be staying. Think about what type of trip you want, maybe a quiet holiday resort where you can sit by the pool and not leave the hotel sounds perfect for you. But if you are more of a wanderer, maybe you need to do a bit of research and see what else there is to do outside of the hotel. Use the website Trip Advisor, it has a lot of information uploaded from other travellers about most places around the world. Are you in the middle of nowhere? Are there things to do locally that you can easily get to and get back from? When you are travelling alone, you have to put a bit more consideration into safety and being sure of good transport links or taxi services if you are not hiring a car or moped.
Consider travelling with a solo travel group
I have not myself done this before, but there are several travel groups and tours aimed specifically at solo travellers. Maybe enquire with your local travel agent or do a quick Goggle search.
Get yourself on Instagram and start searching for people that you might want to connect with who have posted about the place you are travelling too. This could be simply to ask for tips for must see travel places, but it could also be to meet up. It is easy to find people, either type in the location you are looking for and check out the accounts that have used that location or more specifically look for specific hashtags, for instance if I was going to Paris I might want to search #parisblogger to connect with bloggers or search “parisfood” which might connect me with accounts that have recommendations for places to eat.
Whether I am travelling alone or not, I always try my best to travel as light as possible because the last thing you need is to be struggling with a suitcase or a rucksack. This is particularly true when you are travelling alone. When I went travelling around Thailand, Malaysia and Cambodia, I was told to pack light because I was travelling with a rucksack. I thought I travelled light, but I wished I’d travelled lighter – that rucksack seemed to get heavier and heavier as time went by. Whatever you think is ‘light’ go even lighter. [Photo credit: William Brown]
Keep valuables to a minimum
It’s common sense, but it goes without saying, try to keep valuables to a minimum. There is no point packing your iPad, laptop, expensive camera if it will cause you to be constantly worried about them. Keep those things to a minimum. I used to travel with my big camera (Canon 5d Mark ii) but it was heavy and I would worry about it. Downsizing to my Fuji X100t was the best investment I made because it allowed me to travel much more lightly and feel more at ease because the Fuji is a much smaller camera and more discreet. I have blogged about the cameras I use previously, click here and here for more info. I also would say, it might be worth travelling with a bum bag (fanny pack if your American ;-)) or money belt that you you can wear around your waist or even under your clothes if you want to keep your money on you at all times.. this is particularly handy if you want to go out dancing for example, but want to keep your valuables on you and not, for instance, in a cloakroom or somewhere else you might be worried about.
Use your common sense
There are good places and bad places everywhere. You could go to the safest city and still be a victim of crime. I would recommend keeping jewellery to a minimum. Don’t go wandering around at night with a big expensive camera around your neck or your phone on display. Sometimes, you can go into “holiday mode” and do things you wouldn’t normally in terms of safety, be mindful of this.
Just go for it!
I understand that it can be scary to try new things, but that fear or nervousness shouldn’t stop you from doing the things you want to do. If we let our fears overcome us, we will have a life of “shoulda, woulda, coulda” and “I wish I had…”. Sometimes you just have to take that leap of faith that knowing that you have used your common sense things and so everything will be just fine. When you travel, especially when you travel by yourself, you have to think positively. Relax, don’t be too guarded or have a mindset that something bad will happen. I remember listening to a podcast by Natalie Lue and she said, worrying is like praying for what you don’t want to happen. I think there is truth in that. Know that, you will achieve something that you have always wanted to do. You will meet more people than you would have if you were travelling with friends. Generally, people will talk to you more because it is less intimidating to strike up a conversation with a lone person then with someone who is already with somebody, so whether you prefer that or not, you will find that people will speak to you.
These are just a few of my thoughts, if you have any more suggestions, feel free to share by commenting below. I would love to read them 🙂
Photography: Tanya Weekes